JULY 17: The trade is official, the Suns PR department tweets. The Spurs have also confirmed the deal, announcing in a press release that the pick they acquired from Phoenix is the Pelicans’ 2025 second-rounder. San Antonio surrendered a protected 2024 second-rounder in the swap.
JULY 16: The Suns have agreed to trade point guard Cameron Payne to the Spurs, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), who reports that San Antonio will also acquire a second-round pick and cash in the deal.
Confirming Charania’s report, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link) says Phoenix will receive a future second-round pick in the swap. That selection will be protected, sources tell Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link).
Payne, whose name had popped up in trade rumors as of late, appeared in 48 games for the Suns last season, averaging 10.3 points, 4.5 assists, and 2.2 rebounds in 20.2 minutes per night, with a shooting line of .415/.368/.766.
Following Phoenix’s trade of Chris Paul earlier in the offseason, Payne had his $6.5MM salary for 2023/24 guaranteed and looked like he’d get a chance to vie for the final spot in the team’s starting lineup, alongside Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal, and Deandre Ayton.
Instead, the Suns are offloading the veteran guard in order to open up a spot on the roster for Bol Bol, who has agreed to sign a one-year deal with the club. John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link) suggests that Payne would’ve been behind Jordan Goodwin on the depth chart, so the team was comfortable moving him.
According to Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype (via Twitter), the move from Payne to Bol will reduce Phoenix’s projected luxury tax penalty by approximately $18MM and will generate a $6.5MM trade exception for the team. ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link) estimates that the tax savings will be $26.4MM. Still, it’s a little odd to see the Suns essentially dumping Payne’s contract when it had only been partially guaranteed (for $2MM) until June 29.
The Spurs, who will absorb Payne’s $6.5MM salary into their cap room, will still have a little over $5MM in space available once the trade is official, tweets Gozlan.
It remains to be seen whether San Antonio envisions Payne opening the 2023/24 season with the team — once Tre Jones and Sandro Mamukelashvili officially sign their agreed-upon deals and the Spurs acquire Payne, they’ll have 18 players on standard contracts. They’ll have to reduce that number to 15 ahead of opening night in October.